The standoff at the farm El Peonío, Zulia state, Venezuela, between some farmers and Chávez military, ended with Chávez sending an envoy to offer a huge payoff. Given the rumors that the military had to be led by Cubans since the Venezuelan officers refused to use military force to confiscate the land from a farmer in their own country, and the rumors that FARC terrorists were also leading the confiscations at many of the other 46 farms, the logical conclusion is that Hugo Chávez is standing increasingly alone.
After the election loss he is using the lame duck session to introduce full-fledged totalitarian rule, another clear sign of weakness.
Persistent rumors have it that a large majority of the Venezuelan military is against him. His use of Cubans in the recent actions suggests that he really is afraid that they might disobey him. Perhaps even rebel against him.
In this situation Venezuelans have banged pots this evening (twitter hashtag #cacerolazo is leading in Venezuela now), as a signal to judge how widespread the wish for a regime-change is. The same method was used in Iran and there it lead to the overthrow of the Shah.
Chávez has clearly demonstrated that he is not willing to accept democracy. He is not respecting the results. He is using every dirty trick in the book, and some not yet in the book, to sabotage the fundamental principles of democracy, including that of free speech. He has turned himself into a full-fledged dictator – and the courageous people of Venezuela are responding to the provocation by organizing a forceful defense of democracy and the rule of law.
El Peonío was not the end of this fight. It was not even the beginning of the end. It was just the end of the beginning – as Churchill might have put it. Tomorrow new actions are planned.
Media: SvD (Swedish)